Two nights ago my kids were watching Veggie Tales, while I made dinner. They were watching one based on the Bible story of Joseph. As I listened in (because come on, who doesn’t love old school VT?), I heard this question get asked of Lil’ Joe…If God is good then how come He is allowing all this bad stuff to happen to you? (Basic story of Joseph…loved most by his father, hated by his brothers because of it. Brothers captured and sold him into slavery. Ended up working in Egypt and prospering well as a slave, until the master’s wife tried to get him to be intimate with her. He ran and in her embarrassment over the rejection she accused him of trying to attack her. He was put in prison. In prison he had favor and got chummy with some of the other prisoners by interpreting their dreams. More to the story, but this is where the question took place.)
Earlier that morning I had been reading about the HARD eucharisteo. About being thankful not in spite of the suffering, but in it and for it. About what is God’s grace truly. Is He really a good God? Does a good God send us bad things? Is it true what Ephesians 1:11 says? ( Moreover, because of what Christ has done, we have become gifts to God that he delights in, for as part of God’s sovereign plan we were chosen from the beginning to be his, and all things happen just as he decided long ago ) Do ALL things happen just as He decided? What does this mean? Not only that, but His purpose? Reading in verse 12 – God’s purpose in this was that we should praise God and give glory to him for doing these mighty things for us, who were the first to trust in Christ. When reading this chapter of the Bible it sounds all wonderful. It points to the easily seen good things, but what if you view this passage in light of the hard eucharisteo? What if you look at the “bad” things? What if you look to all the pain in our world…in just your life alone? Was God’s purpose really that we should praise Him and give Him glory…IN EVERYTHING? How can we do that? How can we look at all the hard stuff and say God is good? How can we feel all the pain and say Glory in highest? Perhaps He is just a God who occasionally steps in and throws some benevolence our way. Just enough to keep His street cred. Perhaps He gives more grace to those who are more good? And who determines what makes someone more good?
Or perhaps none of us are good and ONLY He is. Is He really the good, good Father? Does He really only do GOOD? How can we know? How can we trust? This is where the rubber meets the road. My understanding is that it is all about perspective and I have almost none. I am bereft of perspective because I get so easily entangled in the minutia of my day…in the dishes and the laundry and the poopy bottoms. I miss seeing the whole picture because I refuse to look; to really look at it. And when I question Him (for one must question to find the answer one is so desperate for), what does He say? That is the key. What does He say? He says LOOK THROUGH MY EYES. Well, God, that’s easier said than done. You speak and light appears. MY WORD is a LAMP unto your feet and a LIGHT unto your path. There in that verse you learn so easily as a child lies the secret. He gave us a way to see from His perspective. We have to look through the eyes of His word. We have to see using the LIGHT He has offered. And when we look at everything through the fullness of WHO HE IS then Ann suggests that we can see clearly because He is doing a transfiguration. What? He is changing us. He is changing it all. He is working ALL things together for His purpose. He is a GOOD God.
And who are we to deserve His grace? Who are we to see good in our lives? What have we done to merit anything, ANYTHING that is good? It is not we who are good. It is not because of us that anything good comes about. It is because of Him that all things are working together for good. And it is through His Word that we can see it. Through His word that we can see the fullness of a GOOD GOD.
Why is this so hard? Why do easily thank Him for the things we see as good and just lay aside that which we perceive as bad? If everything is filled with His purpose then everything is good? Is that the truth? Is the pain and loss you have experienced good? Can I count the suffering that I have felt and say thank-you? Am I able? Only through perspective. Only through transformation. Will I choose to see through the light He has given me and give thanks back? Everytime I read this chapter the hard questions come. Is this really something I believe? Am I really able to say thank you in the hard, the difficult, the ugly? These questions come at me hard and fast. And they all lead me to the one place; the one question, the question those other prisoners asked Little Joe. If God is good, then why is He allowing all this bad stuff to happen to you? And oh, that I could answer what he answered…I do not know why all these things have happened to me, but I know God. He is a good God and He is working it all for His purpose. And His purpose for me is good.
To know God. That is when you are able to give the HARD EUCHARISTEO. You only know Him, really know Him when you spend time in His word, gaining His perspective. Did Corrie Ten Boom see it? Not at first, but her sister Betsy…she saw it. She was able to thank God for the fleas because it gave them the freedom to share Him. Her perspective was not on the prison camps and lack of food and rough treatment. Her perspective was on a God who was good because He was transforming all things to bring about His purpose.
I sigh as I write these words. These truths that are so much deeper than I want to go some days weigh heavily on me. Come and see me He says. Come and see that I AM GOOD. Will I go; will I give the hard eucharisteo and see things through His eyes? All I can answer is that I want to…day by day, minute by minute I want to put my foot on the path His lamp lights for me. For today anyway, for today, I choose to say that God is good. He is good. He is good. HE IS GOOD.